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Valhalla Update|February 17, 2023

An Update From Valhalla Foundation

Here are highlights from each of Valhalla’s six portfolios over the past year:


In Early Childhood:

  • We officially launched our Growth Fund, which invests in earlier-stage organizations than those we have historically funded, with a particular focus on those led by leaders of color, given the barriers to capital that these leaders often face. Our first two Growth Fund grantees are ParentCorps and AVANCE.
  • We also added a policy prong to our investment strategy and invested in three organizations working to advance policies and funding streams that drive public dollars toward evidence-based programs and practices, including The Hunt Institute, Alliance for Early Success, and First Five Years Fund.


In K-12 Education:

  • Researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver, found that The City Fund‘s reforms in Denver Public Schools dramatically improved student achievement (an effect size of 0.56 over an 11-year period).
  • The government of Malawi committed to expanding the Imagine Worldwide program to every primary school in the country. Malawi will be one of the first countries to scale an effective and low-cost edtech solution nationwide, reaching nearly 3.5M children per year by 2028.


In Data Science:

  • In September, we sponsored a K-12 Data Science Workshop organized by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that brought together more than 400 researchers, practitioners, and policymakers for the first time. The workshop participants identified what’s known about data science and the research priorities that are most critical to accelerating the field. Four research-practice working groups, facilitated by the Data Science for Everyone Coalition and Concord Consortium, were formed to build upon the recommendations from the workshop.
  • Introduction to Data Science (IDS), CourseKata, and Youcubed are serving almost 19K high school students with a full-year data science course, more than doubling their collective reach from the prior year.
  • The 2022 Data Science Commitments Campaign, organized by the Data Science for Everyone Coalition, yielded commitments that will reach an estimated 2M students, 90K teachers, and 8K school districts.


In Environmental Innovation:

  • We continue to see important breakthroughs toward our goal of reducing methane and other greenhouse gas emissions and protecting human health.
  • One notable achievement is the work of the Environmental Defense Fund to convince Congress that air monitoring is essential, can be measured hyper-locally, and should be a funding priority. As a result, for the first time, the federal government is investing $296M in air monitoring and is using air monitoring insights to influence how additional billions in funds are awarded, particularly to the communities most impacted by air pollution.


In Medical Research & Talent:

  • We continue to see exciting progress toward developing scalable treatments that effectively prevent, remediate, and/or cure multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases. Most notably:
  • The UCSF ORIGINS team significantly advanced our understanding of the causes of MS by identifying a small population of immune cells that appear to be the culprits in the disease as well as a possible trigger, the Epstein-Barr virus.
  • The UCSF iMSMS team found a way to predict MS three years before disease onset with ~83% accuracy, enabling early detection and treatment that can dramatically improve patients’ longevity and quality of life.


In Collaborative Philanthropy:


We welcomed four new team members:

  • We hired Sandro Olivieri as a Director and Elena Elliott as an Associate to help accelerate the impact of Valhalla’s Early Childhood portfolio.
  • Katharine Koshie joined as a Senior Director to lead our Environmental Innovation and Collaborative Philanthropy portfolios.
  • My Johnson came on board as Valhalla’s Executive Assistant.

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